This Man Is Mine

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Original title This Man Is Mine
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1934
length 76 minutes
Director John Cromwell
script Jane Murfin
production Pandro S. Berman / RKO
music Max Steiner
camera David Abel
cut William Morgan

This Man Is Mine is a 1934 comedy film starring Irene Dunne and Ralph Bellamy and directed by John Cromwell .


The married couple Tony and Jim Dunlap are known for their happy partnership and the shining example for their best friends Bree and Jud McCrea. Then the news bursts in that Francesca "Fran" Harper, a well-known man hunter and the former girlfriend of Jim, has divorced and is on her way back to New York. Tony is understandably nervous about the arrival of a glamorous siren like Francesca, but Jim assures her that he is no longer interested in his ex-flame. Tony wants to be on the safe side and, entirely the selfless person she is, arranges a secret meeting between Jim and Fran at the McCreas house. The inevitable happens and Jim falls again under the erotic spell of the experienced seductress. After a night of passion, Jim wants an immediate divorce. Tony is skeptical at first, but then she rushes forward and files for a divorce on her own initiative and sues Fran for damages. The scandal is huge and Francesca, who is at heart a snob who only cares about her own social position, then berates Jim for confessing his adultery to Tony. In the end, the two rivals seek a secret debate. Fran promises to leave Jim alone if Tony withdraws her lawsuit. In the end Tony and Jim are happy again and Fran marries a very wealthy nobleman who takes them to his castle in England.


Since her debut in late 1930, Irene Dunne had risen to become RKO's biggest box office star . Most of the time Dunne was seen on screen as a long-suffering wife or lover, who endures everything, never blames her unfaithful partner in the slightest and is ultimately rewarded for her selflessness. Her mostly female fans admired Dunne for her ability to endure even the most adverse circumstances she was scripted to endure with stoic composure.

A particularly committed supporter of this type of female self-sacrifice, when reviewing one of her films, dared to compare it to the father of Indian independence:

“The female Gandhi among movie stars is Hollywood's most compelling example of the power of passive resistance. [...] I am even convinced that she should be an inspiration for all of us and a good role model for American women. "

Despite her undeniable box office popularity, Irene Dunne was usually only offered roles by the studio that were rejected by top stars Ann Harding or Katharine Hepburn . With the exception of Cimarron , Dunne has never appeared in RKO's prestigious productions, and This Man Is Mine is little more than a well-made B-movie. He came into the rental business before the rigid Production Code came into force and was therefore able to hold relatively liberal views on marital fidelity and divorce. The rather lax handling of the censorship regulations up to mid-1934 also made it possible that Francesca's character did not have to endure moral consequences for her divorce and subsequent adultery with Jim, but instead married a millionaire in her second marriage and rose to the nobility.

Although Dunne was the nominal star of the film, Kay Johnson and Constance Cummings both had almost as much text and appeared in hardly fewer scenes than Dunne. Nevertheless, the appearance was important for the career of the actress. Directed by John Cromwell , who was responsible for executing the two previous Dunne productions, Ann Vickers and The Silver Cord , the actress began the gradual change from the eternally suffering wives and lovers to the heroine of elegant romantic comedies. The changes in the image towards a more self-confident appearance were then also noticed by the critics.

The film had the working titles Transient Love and Husbands Come and Go during production before it was released under This Man Is Mine .


The New York Times critic found harsh words for the film.

"It's a sub-par and talkative film that could perhaps have been turned into a light comedy or a farce."

The New York Herald-Tribune was very fond of Irene Dunne and chose a relatively harsh comparison:

"When you close your eyes and imagine Ann Harding in the role, you will see how good Irene Dunne is."

Cecelia Ager , the sharp-tongued reviewer of the renowned weekly magazine The Nation , expressed her amazement at the "new" Irene Dunne:

“She's still classy Irene Dunne on This Man Is Mine, but she's slowly thawing out. She says "jake" and when she says it sounds like a swear word. In the turmoil of emotions she breaks a glass, but she throws it against the fireplace, where the broken pieces could cause the slightest disorder and most revolutionary of all, she expresses a marked aversion to her - what is to become of this world? - Mother!"

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  1. The lady Gandhi of the cinema stars is Hollywood's most determinedrepresentative of the mobility of passive resistance. […] In fact I am sure she should be an inspiration to all of us and a fine example to American Womanhood.
  2. It is a mediocre, verbose picture, which might possibly have made a good light comedy or perhaps a farce.
  3. If you close your eyes and imagine Ann Harding in the role, you will realize how fine Irene Dunne is.
  4. She's still noble Irene Dunne in This Man Is Mine but she's loosening up. She says "jake" once, and saying it, makes it sound like a swear word; she smashes a glass in tension, but smashes it against the fireplace where its destruction will cause the least untidyness; and most revolutionary of all, she confesses to an ardent dislike for her - what is this world coming to? - her mother!